/ Please advise on my firework photos?

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The Lemming - on 23 Sep 2012
I would very much appreciate any constructive advice on the images I took on Friday of the Firework Championships?

All images were shot at ISO 640 and at f5. The lens would only go down to f4 so I upped it a couple of notches to try and get a little more detail. Not sure if this was a good idea or not.

Cheers

http://www.flickr.com/photos/the1lemming/
Blue Straggler - on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to The Lemming:

Generally I think the exposures are good, and the compositions work if that is what you wanted (looks like the same semi-wide shot to include the tower and the sea) but they all seem a bit "soft" optically, and I am not sure what you can do about that as that might be a phenomenon of the lens and its aperture. I have only shot fireworks once, in about 2001 with a film SLR on a tripod with bulb release and loaded with generic Jessops colour neg film, and my results were somehow sharper than yours - that's why I am questioning the optics, as it looks as if your planning and intent and execution were fine.

Personally I'd have gone for a bolder zoom - you are shooting fireworks, not "fireworks with the Blackpool tower in the frame and some sea", but that's only personal!

I would recommend that if you want critique on a set of photos, that you put those photos into a "Set" on flickr. It makes it easier to flick from one photo to the next that way.
halo on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to The Lemming: To be honest they're good. They could be better though if you could get in closer with your lense, a nice close up would be outstanding.

This togger has similar set up to you http://www.flickr.com/photos/zrobulj/8012647004/ looking at the composition it looks more like cosmic event, rather than a nightime landscape shot of fireworks.

He is also using a lower ISO equals less noise, equals more clarity.
Siward on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to The Lemming: No expert, but your butterfly is a Red Admiral.
Trangia - on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to The Lemming:

They are good, particularly the black sky bursts....
Ghastly Rubberfeet on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to The Lemming:

Yes, butterfly is Red Admiral.

The fireworks shots.

A couple of wider shots for reference to the location in a series like this is good, but the rest would be better tighter in and with sharper detail. A faster shutter might help with that. Up the ISO to give you that. Maybe even go up to f5.6 to help sharpness, if you can get away with upping the ISO enough without noise.

Bear in mind that going tighter in usually means a higher f stop and therefore a slower shutter.

The Lemming - on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to The Lemming:

Thank you everybody for the replies, they were all helpful.

Cheers
cj1970 - on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to The Lemming: I would definitely go in tighter on the fire works. Lower the ISO for less noise to preserve detail, and a longer exposure (between 1 and 2 seconds) to show the whole of the explosion. Obviously this should be done with a tripod.
Jamie Wakeham - on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to The Lemming: it looks like you gave the very last one a little more exposure - there's more detail in the rest of the scene (for example, the tower on the left has some detail in its structure, and you can make out figures on the right). IMO this helps to make some sense of the scene, making this my favourite - even if the actual firework burst caught in the shot isn't the best and has flared a bit, and even though I think I prefer the composition of the earlier ones, as I don't think the beach(?) on the left adds much.

You'd do well to get a *much* faster lens for this sort of thing, though: shooting at ISO 200 with an F/2 lens would make a major difference. I don't know what model camera you were usng but investigating old, manual focus primes might be an idea for this sort of shot?
The Lemming - on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> You'd do well to get a *much* faster lens for this sort of thing, though: shooting at ISO 200 with an F/2 lens would make a major difference. I don't know what model camera you were usng but investigating old, manual focus primes might be an idea for this sort of shot?



Last week I went out with my 35mm Prime and intended to use that as the tide was in. On the night though I went for my zoom lens which isn't as fast as the prime so I took a punt. I think that some of the images could be out of focus as all I had was the Tower to use as a reference point. Some times I used manual and some times, during the shoot, I chose auto focus. I would have preferred to lower the ISO but I was limited by the speed of aperture available to me.

learning experience all round.
psaunders - on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to The Lemming: I think the pictures look good. The exposure is exactly what I tend to aim for when shooting fireworks.

One piece of advice - try stacking multiple images.

I think one problem with firework pictures is that they only capture a very short period, when one's perception and memory of a display is more cumulative. You picture a sky full of flashes and streaks and many shapes and colours... but in the pictures you see just one brief snapshot of this which doesn't really reflect the experience at all.

That's why I think you can produce some really good images by combining different pictures. Might be worth a try anyway.
cj1970 - on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to The Lemming:

This was taken at f8 with a 3.2 second exposure triggered remotely just before the firework exploded. can be a bit hit and miss getting the timing of the firework right sometimes.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cj1970paj/6315952669/
Paint - on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to The Lemming: You need to put the aperture around f8 or smaller (f11) mid Iso and long exposure times of at least 3 seconds probably longer. Also focus on the ground a little in front of where they are being lit and then reframe the image (fireworks usually come towards you at an event). Obviously use a tripod!

Reason you don't won't a wide open aperture is because the depth of field will be too narrow for the moving light and will therefore look soft. Also on basic lenses the image tends to go softer towards the edges of the frame the closer to the limits of their aperture range therefore going more towards f8 it should sharpen things up on images where it's really obvious to see this effect such as firework images.

HTH

Paul
Paint - on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to The Lemming: Meant to say that the images are great but would be even better if you had increased the open shutter time. Great effort though.
Blue Straggler - on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to Paint:

I used to hold the shutter open on bulb and hold black card over the lens, and put the card in and out of the way. You get a few bursts onto the same image then (same as overlaying images but somehow more "purist"). Another fun trick was to lift the card in and out of the lens path during a single firework, which "chops up" the light streams. Depends to what extend you can hold the camera on bulb (I am talking about a film SLR with a mechanical lockable cable release)
Dan Arkle - on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to Blue Straggler:

here is a fun looking technique to try, refocussing during the exposure http://www.petapixel.com/2012/08/27/creative-firework-photographs-shot-by-refocusing-during-long-exp...

what you don't want to do is get the exposure wrong when they send all the fireworks off at once http://www.petapixel.com/2012/07/12/close-up-view-of-the-san-diego-fireworks-fail/
Blue Straggler - on 23 Sep 2012
In reply to Dan Arkle:

The refocusing ones are fab!

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